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Well today was a great range day up here in the PNW, I got too meet up with Mercman and a couple of his shooting buddies. I drug up a new too me M1a Loaded with a few tweaks, as well as my 7.62 M1 Garand. For the most part I normally recommend shooting the rifle first and then evaluate what needs attention first.

The rifle, its a nothing special just a Loaded M1a, what got me was its lack of wear. Zero on the receivers op-rod and bolt channel but there was some missing finish from the op-rod tube I assume that this rifle had been racked a lot and fired little the bolt face and extractor were pristine. This rifle is in the 238000 ser. number range, so there is not one USGI part on this rifle when I drug it home.

Now I can't leave anything alone so I drug out of my parts stash 1 unitized (welded) G/C with its Grooved Sadlak TiN coated piston, M25 mod too the trapang groove and a altered spindle valve, I will get back too the altered spindle valve later. 1 USGI handguard that I relieved the sides so there is no contact along the stocks forearm, still needs a tad more off the right side for my likes. 1 NM reamed F/H with lug, I can't shoot/own a neutered bang stick. I always have issues with the front sight install seems I can't ever get it centered up the first try, so I will keep my fingers crossed this go around.

It took about 30min too swap out the parts, the down side was I had too wait a week before the get together. Being a Lazy Bastage, I still have ammo loaded from my old rifle that I also use in my 7.62 M1 Garand. Nothing special just a clone NM load, a few 125's and some very stiff loaded 168's for Long Range.

After meeting up with Mercman at the meeting area a short hop and were at the range, signed in and a short wait for the benches too clear out so all of us can shoot together, we get targets set up and now were ready to go. Moment of truth for Phil, not wanting too face reality just yet I started with my 7.62 M1 Garand a known great shooter with low round count. I had installed a USGI NM M1 front sight sometime ago on this rifle from Orlando but like I said I never get them on and have the rear still centered or close too centered, nice surprise I got too take a min off. Maybe that's a good sign? but it doesn't like my new load using XBR-8208 with the 125's. No loss I will just stick with one of the 4895's.

Now comes the moment of truth for the M1A, first up is the 125's with XBR 8208. First round down the tube hits a little high but its well centered up, I must have done something right when I installed the front sight on the F/H the rear was untouched for windage, I did come down 2 on the elevation and rattled off the next 9 and there's holes in the black. It is my firm believe that a ATC rifle has too shoot well even when its warm/hot while I didn't heat it up I didn't baby it either. I noticed there was more soot down around the cases shoulder with this load, I didn't see the better accuracy with XBR vrs. 4895 so I will stick with my old standby powder/load with the 125's they don't soot the case near as bad and they shoot into a tight knot for me. In a nutshell I'm just not willing too do the load development/play with this powder for the .308 I'll save it for the wife's AR.

My std. NM load with the 168's, shot just as you could expect it would. No wonder it shoots so well in 99% of the rifles out there and there was no disappointments here. Well centered with mild recoil you got too love that. Stepping up too the stiff 168 loads and the altered spindle valve. This ammo is loaded with a rather stiff load of Varget in a LC case, it clocks in at over 2800fps. I wouldn't recommend this load for a regular rifle or a ATC rifle not set up for Long Range. A normal spindle valve has a .118 passage in its on position, this spindle has that as well but the off/closed side its drilled to .070, that's a large reduction in port size and the gas cylinder gets a lot less volume. The rifle failed too load with my 125 and my std.168 loadings when closed too the small setting. The piston is also grooved for some additional continuous venting, the upside is that the rifle didn't recoil any harder than M118NM or M118LR ammo and it failed too feed the next round, for Long Range shooting all the rifle needs too do is lock back on a empty mag its only used as a feeding tray, this it did do. The M-25 mod in the gas cylinder is very much worth doing there was almost 0 additional carbon/soot inside the stock and the piston is about 75% cleaner on the inside as it would normally would be.

The downside of newish made M1a rifles, there was plenty of brass shavings in the receiver being pretty new this will slow down and eventually stop as the rifle wears in, the mag well is real tight again it will take some time for it too wear in. The triggers first stage is a little gritty as well as being short before it gets too the second stage the let off is ok but some clean up and polishing is needed after that's done I think I can live with it. For the first time in my life I had my first failure too fire!! Even after the second whack nothing, can't explain it so its getting filed into one of life's mystery's as I'm very anal about reloading.

It was nice hooking up with Mercman and I had a 100% great time.
 

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Sorry I missed it. I should really watch the PNW section closer, although it looks like the notice was only posted two days ago. M1A wasn't ready to go anyways, just fitted the new rear sight yesterday.

I know a couple guys who shoot up there regularly. Both tacticool AR guys though. One constantly building and changing his rifles, but he works at Ben's Loans in Renton, so gets the employee discount on parts.
 

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Sounds like a great time! Congrats on the new rifle and getting it test fired. I may look into the M25 mod for my 168 load. I'm using a standard piston, so I might get the warmer loads to cycle reliably.

I'm glad you got a chance to meet mercman. He's a great guy. I wish I could have been there with you all.

Tony.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sounds like a great time! Congrats on the new rifle and getting it test fired. I may look into the M25 mod for my 168 load. I'm using a standard piston, so I might get the warmer loads to cycle reliably.

I'm glad you got a chance to meet mercman. He's a great guy. I wish I could have been there with you all.

Tony.
Tony just too be clear the M-25 mod is a added hole in the trapang groove of the gas cylinder, this just keeps the piston cleaner longer as it doesn't trap as much of the burnt powder fouling and vents it through the stocks weep hole.

The altered spindle valve with its .070 hole is where the magic was made.......... I didn't see any accuracy reduction and it really tamed the rifles action down, perfect for the ATC shooter that wants too shoot the same stick in Long Range or the Long Range shooter that wants too use the M1A, just turn the spindle and swap the front sight for a shorter one.

I did this at short range as a test or proof of concept, seems that it has worked well so far. The next Match that I can get out too 600yds will be the spindles valves next test. This will give a better idea how well it will or won't work at 1000yds.
 
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Yep, you should have I would have even loaned you a shooter.
I was thinking to myself there were a few forum members that lived in Kitsap county just couldn't remember. Oh well, I've been enjoying this weather regardless. Not ready to go back to the Texas heat.
 
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